I’m old enough to remember where I was the first time I heard Green Day’s Dookie: surrounded by piles of Buffalo-wing bones, Camel Lights and empty Milwaukee’s Best bottles in a fraternity house bedroom that somehow engendered the exact mood the album was meant to exude. It was the sound I’d grown up with in Southern California with SST and Epitaph, but ground down for public consumption. It was still dirty, though, and honest and pretty much everything that Gen X has that we don’t have in today’s music. It represented something. Something that bore right into my soul and got at the irony, wry humor and self-loathing that we all kind of internalize as a generation. The perfect amalgamation of the Gen X junk drawer.
And then we have Bastille. The nutless, self-important soft-rock bullshit French people group that, ok, isn’t really French, but might as well be. A band that comes from the Coldplay / Muse school of sucking the life out of everything they touch. The complete misconception of what this Green Day album and their song represents. Bastille’s version isn’t done ironically or even interestingly. It’s not anything that anybody could possibly want, and completely ignores the point of the song. A song about panic, anxiety and self-doubt turned into elevator music for brain dead millennials. The stabbing staccato of a head sputtering and malfunctioning represented through punk music swapped out for strings and brass placed somewhere on a soft cloud. Seriously, dudes, haven’t you done enough? Go back to France. Go back to England. But please leave our totems alone and let us be who we’re gonna be.